Hillary Clinton starts five-nation trip

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Hilarry Clinton
Kiev (Ukraine), Jul 02: Hillary Clinton arrived in Kiev, Ukrainian capital as a part of her trip to five nations in Central Europe and the Caucasus region.

Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, will meet Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, as well as members of non-governmental groups and independent media leaders.

Hillary Clinton will open the US-Ukrainian Strategic Partnership Commission, which provides for increased cooperation on a range of issues including energy and trade, security and defense, and cultural exchanges.

This is her first visit to Ukraine since the Feb 2010 poll win of President Viktor Yanukovych who had reversed the pro Western stance of his predecessor Viktor Yushchenko. After returning to power Yanukovych has sent conciliatory signals to the west, among them visiting Brussels rather than Moscow on his first foreign trip.

"Ukraine has every right to want close relations with Russia, but that U.S. officials are encouraged by Yanukovych's expressed desire for good relationships with Europe and the United States as well," said Philip Gordon, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs.

On Saturday, Jul 3 Hillary Clinton is due to depart for Krakow in Poland and then wrap up her voyage in the Caucasus, with stops in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.

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